Today I am launching a week long series on going vegan. Please help guide me if you have any questions or concerns that you would like addressed. While I am giving you a little direction this will in no way be a comprehensive series and I will supply you with a list of reading materials on each day. Here is what we have on the table this week: Monday (Reasons for Going Vegan), Tuesday (Jumping In-How to Start without Being Overwhelmed), Wednesday (Firming Up Your Convictions-Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World), Thursday (Health Concerns), Friday (Resources and Recipes). Please join me!
I have been vegan since 2000. I chose to go vegan because I believe, quite simply, that it is not right to eat animals. From what I can tell most vegans choose to be vegans for two reasons (one or both): 1) Animal right's 2) Health. Today I thought I would discuss both of those choices and share with you why I believe only one of those two will be long term successful.
1) Animal Rights
Many vegans start out on the path to veganism as individuals moved by compassion. Often new vegans have already tried out vegetarianism and decided that they wanted to do more in the way of animal rights. A little research into where your food is coming from can be a shocking and eye opening experience. Once you have gone done that rabbit hole you realize the animal industry includes far more than meat, dairy and eggs. A call to action leads many people to choose a vegan lifestyle.
Many others are moved to veganism for health reasons, either they were directed by a doctor or perhaps they are interested in clean living which a vegan diet can provide. We can thank (?) many heart attack victims and folks with high cholesterol for the vegan options we find in regular grocery stores. As America has struggled with its weight and health many physicians have prescribed healthy (vegan) diets and as a result the demand for products has increased.
From my own observations it is those who go vegan for animal rights that maintain the lifestyle. Please don't misunderstand, there are plenty of vegans who went veg for health benefits and have maintained, but by and large it is the outrage at the atrocities against animals that compel people to commit to veganism on a moral level and to maintain long term. I have found that once you take a long hard look at where animal foods come from you cannot unlearn that information. Health fads come and go, but moral obligations have a way of sticking to you.
With that said, the health benefits of a vegan diet are amazing! This study (click here) shows the longevity that vegetarians enjoy...I am sure the study for vegans is still underway because they are waiting for any of us to die (I kid). Many new vegans enjoy weight loss, the "vegan glow", lower cholesterol, and a general sense of good health. I am no physician so I have included some excellent resources below.
Go forth and go veg!
Resources for you:
Animal Rights and Human Morality
Vegan for Life
The Vegan Athlete